Published: The Chester County Hospital Foundation Donor Report FY2012
Every year, more than 40,000 patients are treated in the Emergency Department (ED) at Chester County Hospital. With this many people coming through the doors, it is not uncommon to see a person admiring the unique portrait hanging near the ED's registration desk. The painting of Laura Ellena Kurtz Knauer - a triple portrait by West Chester, PA artist Michael Traines - was commissioned in honor of her son, David J. Knauer II, a long-time trustee of Chester County Hospital and a generous benefactor.
David Knauer agreed to allow Chester County Hospital to commission the portrait not as a means to honor him, but rather to honor his mother, who instilled in him the belief that being charitable and contributing to the welfare of the community should be paramount in one's life.
David was a successful man, personally and professionally, with deep roots in West Chester, PA. He was born at Chester County Hospital in 1928 and went on to graduate from Ursinus College. After college, he served in the United States Army and was later married to Nancy Higgins. Together, they had four children. By 1987, David's real estate development projects were flourishing, and he was a respected board member of several local non-profit organizations. It was also around this time that Chester County Hospital was expanding its facilities to keep pace with the growing community. Ray Waldron, a local businessman who was a friend of David's and involved with Chester County Hospital, saw a good match. Ray knew that David's many years of experience and success in commercial building construction would benefit Chester County Hospital. After meeting with then-Hospital President Perry Pepper and admiring his passion and dedication, David accepted a position on the Hospital's Board of Directors and joined the Building Committee.
Over the years with the guidance of David Knauer, Chester County Hospital grew, as did his commitment. He could always be counted on for a generous annual gift and when capital needs arose, as they did in 2000 when Chester County Hospital decided it was necessary to expand its ED, David generously stepped forward with the philanthropic spirit instilled in him by his mother and father. He continued to serve on Chester County Hospital's Board for another 10 years, before resigning in 2010. David believed that while board service was important, it was also important to retire from that service at some point and allow others to bring in new energy and ideas. In a letter written to his children in 1997, David advised: "try to help others by volunteering, serving on community boards, serving your church, bake cookies for others, and just help others where you can. Don't spend all your time on yourself."
Chester County Hospital remains honored to have had David Knauer as a part of the organization for so many years. His wisdom, expertise and dedication to improving his community were constant guiding points for the Hospital's Board. His philanthropy during his lifetime and through a gift from his estate after he passed away in 2011, have had a significant impact on the growth of Chester County Hospital during crucial times.